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Top Tips for Avoiding Separation Anxiety in Your Puppy

For some, training is a pleasant part of rearing a puppy, it comes naturally. For others, it is difficult and frustrating. Luckily, most dogs are very amenable to training, and there are tried-and-tested techniques that should be successful even in the hands of a total novice.  


The Basics  

All puppies should receive at least some basic training. Some breeds are naturally more ‘good-mannered’ than others, and your dog’s genes will likely dictate how much and what type of training they need.  


It really is important to teach simple commands such as 'sit’ and ‘paw’. This type of responsive training helps build a bond with you and your puppy and keeps their brain engaged.  

First, say the command, and then make your pup perform the desired command. So, say 'sit’ in a firm voice, and then put gentle pressure on your puppy’s bottom until they sit. As soon as that bum touches the floor, they get a nice high-pitched lilt of ‘well done, you’ or similar, followed by lots of fusses, and a delicious treat.  

You’ll be surprised at how quickly they switch on when there is food involved!  

Stick to small but highly palatable treats.  


Can I train my puppy not to bark?  

You would be surprised at just how often this question is asked! 

We previously wrote a blog about barking if that would be helpful. 


Barking is a natural behaviour, and it is how our canine friends communicate. However, nuisance barking can become a real problem between an owner and their dog! A 'stop barking’ command or a curt and firm ‘no!’ is a useful one to have in your back pocket.  


Surprisingly, the first step is to teach a 'speak’ command.  

Wait until your dog is barking, say 'speak’ and give them lots of praise and a treat. They will respond positively. Repeat this until they understand that when you ask them to speak, you want them to be vocal. Next, wait until the bark stops and issue a ‘quiet!’ command – or again, a firm ‘no!’.  

When they understand what has happened, issue the command during a bark. Once quiet, they get heavily rewarded. Repeat until you have the desired effect – it is worth this extra time.  


Can I train my puppy to be social?  

This is such an important part of having dog. None of us want that dog that barks and lunges at any strange dog it meets on the street or in the park! 

It’s vital that you teach your dog from a young age that other dogs (and people) are a good thing. If we do not expose them to other dogs in their first few months, they can become anxious and anti-social.  


It is extremely important that their exposure to other dogs is always positive and never forced. They should choose to approach the other dog themselves. We should ensure the other dog is one who is known to be friendly and calm. When a positive interaction ensues, we can reward our clever pup with some training treats.  


Can I train my puppy to not develop separation anxiety?  

Having a puppy - or even an adult dog - with separation anxiety can put a huge stress on our relationship with them! 

Many owners begin to feel guilty about leaving the house and can become resentful of the dog. This is a behavioural issue that is easier to prevent than it is to treat.  


Here are some sensible suggestions:  


  • Ensure your dog has a safe space when left alone, such as a crate or comfy bed.  

  • Never leave your pup for a prolonged period.  

  • Offer an opportunity for them to go to the toilet just before you leave.  

  • Stay calm before leaving and upon arriving home. It is best not to fuss your dog too much, as this can get them wound up and anxious. Just make it all feel casual. 

  • Leave a pheromone plug-in in the same room as your little one.  

  • Give them something to do when left alone. Consider using a small ‘puppy Kong’ stuffed with healthy treats and a layer of wet food; this should keep them occupied for some time! 


Puppy training (or any dog training for that matter) can be a testing time! 

With that in mind, if you do have any questions or queries about training – or anything else, please feel free to contact us here at Paws for Thought

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